I guess I’ll give you a general update about my life. This week has been pretty uneventful. I’ve had class… and that’s about it. Last night the SLAs organized a viewing of Roman Holiday and pizza. I went and ate, but didn’t stick around for much of the movie. It was too hard to hear the words in Rinaldo’s.

I miss my family a lot here. I mean, I didn’t really talk to them as often as I should have while I was home anyway. Knowing that I can’t just hop on the Metra and see them in an hour’s time is definitely different. I miss the company of my dog, too.

Now on to the title of this post. These are just some thoughts that I felt the need to put into writing. Feel free to stop reading at any time.

To start, tomorrow I have the opportunity to do a meet-and-greet of sorts with the Pope. Now, I am not Catholic, so the Pope is about as important to me as the tooth fairy is to an adult that has lost all of their baby teeth. Most people that I know are leaving here around 6:30 A.M. to be the first ones in line. They also have the opportunity to have the Pop bless a religious item or two. I am going to exercise my right to NOT go. I mean, the Pope has a Papal audience every Wednesday, so if I truly feel compelled to see him, I can go another day. Loyola, being the Jesuit university that it is, cancelled classes for tomorrow so that everyone would have t opportunity to go. I only have one class on Wednesdays, so it isn’t really that big of a deal for me. I plan on going exploring tomorrow instead.

Another thing that I’ve been thinking about is what we have been discussing in my Italian Immigrant Experience class. Today, we watched part of a movie about the living conditions of Italians in the 1880’s. One major part of the plot involved the decision whether or not to send the eldest son to school. If the family chose to send the son to school, they would lose one person that would otherwise help work the fields. The only reason the family decided to send him was because the village priest basically told the family that they had to, because the son had an intellectual gift.

That probably wouldn’t happen today. I mean, we have a great education system in the United States, and I’m sure Italy does too. We cut the film short so that we could cover other things during class. But it really got me thinking about all of the opportunities that we have today that simply would never have been possible in the 1800’s, or even the early 1900’s.

I am currently a sophomore at Loyola and I am one of the first in my family to go to college. I don’t know that many people that chose not to go to college after graduation. This is recent development, though. In the 1800’s, it was almost a threat to send your children to school. Not only would the children be smarter than you (educated people often weren’t trusted, as their education made it easier to take advantage of uneducated people), but you would essentially lose them forever. Education allowed people to move up in social class. This is still (usually) true today.

When you stop and think about it, the way that things are today is pretty amazing. I mean, I am in college. I have traveled abroad and I am currently spending an entire semester in Rome. My parents have never been out of the country, though they really don’t have any desire to anyway. My parents have always told me about the benefits of attending school, and now that I’m finally here, it is all so mind blowing. I really can do anything that I set my mind to. It’s just a matter of putting in the time and effort.

I guess the purpose of this post is to recognize the way that things have changed. This post is also meant to serve as a reminder that I should not take anything offered to me for granted. While I don’t really have any interest in seeing the Pope, I’m going to spend tomorrow exploring this beautiful, historical city and truly seizing the day.

Carpe diem!

About Austin Sears

I'm a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in sociology and minoring in urban studies and photography. The purpose of this blog is to document my semester abroad in Rome!
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One Response to Thoughts

  1. Stacey Heiligenthal (aunt) says:

    Very well written Austin. I am so proud of you to experience everything you can. Life is so short, and those little four words will guide you to experience amazing things. If your motto is ‘SAY YES’ just think of the doors it will open up for you. You are extremely fortunate to have this experience. You can even write a book! Good Luck, I will be reading. Auntie Stacey

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